Obama compromises on tax cuts in lame duck session

(posted December 19, 2010)  It's been a tough couple of months for President Barack Obama.   To no one's surprise, Obama's Democrats were trounced in November's midterm elections as the Republicans took over the house and reduced the Democratic majority in the Senate.  As I noted in my previous October post, Obama's prevailing planetary influences at that time were generally poor as transiting Ketu was conjunct his Venus and Rahu and Pluto formed a semisquare (45 degree) aspect to his ascendant.  Specifically, I noted that this Ketu-Venus aspect might cause some change and disruption while the Rahu-Pluto aspect might make Obama feel "compelled through external circumstance to make adjustments". 

Well, Obama has definitely had to make adjustments to the new political reality in DC.  This was perhaps no more evident than Obama's quick surrender on the tax cut bill where he forged a compromise with the now invigorated Republicans to extend the Bush tax cuts on all income levels, including the very wealthy, in exchange for increased funding for unemployment benefits.  While the tax cut compromise is generally popular which may help his re-election chances, it has alienated Obama's Democratic base as many former supporters are now expressing disappointment and questioning their allegiance to him.  More troublesome, however, is the recent ruling by a Virginia judge that Obama's landmark health care reform is unconstitutional, thereby throwing open the possibility of long and messy court battles that could embolden Republicans to fight it out politically as well.


As the transit chart shows, Obama is still coming under the humbling influence of transiting Ketu to his natal Venus.  Using a whole sign house system, Venus rules the 10th house (Libra) of career and status in his chart, so this is one reason why he is coming under attack at this time.  Ketu isn't always bad news of course, but it does often correlate with times or reassessment of goals and quickly changing circumstances as they relate to career.  Obama may well be losing his liberal outlook here and shifting to the center as Ketu may be encouraging a sense of accommodation and revision of his ideals.   Ketu is perhaps more negative here because its dispositor, Mercury, is retrograde and transiting through Obama's 12th house of loss and isolation (Sagittarius).  Nonetheless, this compromise may boost his appeal with independent voters in 2012 so it remains to be seen what its long term effects might be.

Taking a closer look at the transit chart, we can see that Obama's compromise and subsequent criticism came during the quadruple conjunction of Mercury, Mars, Rahu and Pluto in Sagittarius.  All of these planets were aligned in opposition to his natal Venus in Gemini within just a few degrees.  Transiting Ketu is even closer to his Venus here, suggesting the necessity of more revisions to status and changing circumstances in the workplace.  He signed the agreement on December 6,  just as Mars (frustration, excess energy) was not only aspecting Venus (status), but also coming to a very close 8th house quincunx aspect (150 degrees) to his natal Mercury.   Mercury rules his 9th house of justice and ideals/principles so the Mars affliction to his 9th house lord supports the notion that he altered his beliefs to adjust to the new realities of Congress.  The Virginia ruling against Obamacare came down on December 14, when the Mars-Mercury aspect was even closer.  This aspect therefore represents conflict or opposition to his ideals for universal medical coverage of all of US citizens.  We can also spot that transiting Sun (ego, self) was afflicted by the square aspect from his natal Mars that day, and this symbolizes the setback he suffered since his health care plan is seen as the centerpiece of his whole administration.

What lies ahead for Obama?  Transiting Saturn is now close to his equal 9th house cusp and will station just one degree from there in late January.  This could also conceivably be implicated in Obama's ongoing woes, although the picture is less than clear.  Saturn is a natural malefic, but its role in his natal chart is much more positive due to its rulership of the 1st house and its conjunction with benefic Jupiter.  With Saturn transiting close to this house cusp for an extended period, there will likely be more negative fallout for Obama.  Transiting Ketu will still be in a close conjunction with Venus for another month so that will likely correspond with a general atmosphere of defensiveness.  On the plus side, Jupiter will aspect his MC (unequal 10th house cusp) and then move on to boost Mercury in mid-January and especially early February.  There may be some events that improve his reputation as a result of this Jupiter influence.  Since Mercury rules his 9th house, he may get some relief on the judicial front, perhaps from a favorable ruling involving an ongoing piece of legislation such as health care.

But on balance the next month or two seems like a uphill battle.  Retrograde Mercury will station under the square of his natal Mars from just before Christmas to shortly after New Year's so that does not bode well at all. This could involve conflict or violence either at home or abroad that will cause him some worry and frustration.  The Sun and Mars will conjoin his ascendant in early February and will thus activate the alignment with Saturn.  This may correlate with a significant event that does not look positive.  I hope to update the possible impact of this alignment in my next post.